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Hamilton Township passes ordinances to allow cannabis businesses, collect revenue
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Hamilton Township passes ordinances to allow cannabis businesses, collect revenue

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HAMILTON TOWNSHIP — The Township Committee unanimously voted to pass an ordinance amending its redevelopment plan to permit cannabis establishments, distributors and delivery services in the township.

Township Redevelopment Attorney Emily Givens said the ordinance gives the township additional levels of control.

“The state has not yet released its regulations, so this gives the township additional protections beyond the state rules,” Givens said.

The redevelopment agreement provides a level of control for issues such as location, hours of operation and the number of establishments.

Municipalities have until Aug. 21 to adopt cannabis policies or be subject to the state’s once they are enacted.

Township resident Laurie Smith expressed concerns about the inclusion of cannabis businesses in the township.

“I do not agree with the township opting in to have cannabis businesses but understand at this point it is too late,” she said. “If this council were to vote no tonight on this ordinance and instead decided to opt out, there is not enough time to do so with the Aug. 21 deadline and things would be much worse if you were unable to do nothing.”

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The ordinance limits the number of licenses allowed, creates a buffer between licensed establishments and where schools, parks and recreational facilities are located and prohibits businesses in all residential areas.

It creates two commercial zones where dispensaries will be allowed, both of which front the Black Horse Pike. It also requires businesses to address odor control, which Smith said has become a problem in other communities that have allowed cannabis businesses.

“I would have preferred the township opt out to any cannabis licensure altogether due to issues that will arise especially among youth use of marijuana,” Smith said.

Hugh Giordano, representing United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 152, spoke in favor of the ordinance.

“These businesses are run by very well-educated professionals, including pharmacists and botanists, many of whom have doctorate degrees,” he said. “The businesses have to adhere to strict environmental and labor standards.”

The governing body also unanimously voted to pass an ordinance to impose a local cannabis transfer tax and user tax as revenue generating resources.

Also at the meeting, a proclamation was presented to Robert Hamilton, who has been a member of the Mays Landing Volunteer Fire Company since 1973.

During the recent closing of the Cotton Mill Bridge, Hamilton permitted a firetruck to be housed on his property on the other side of the bridge from the building so the company could respond quickly and efficiently with no disruptions in service.

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